Letters to the Editor
To The Editor:
The lowering of the credit rating of the United States by Standard & Poors (S&P) is a wake-up call that America has to strengthen its financial standing, but it is also ironic that it was S&P and other credit rating agencies that failed to warn the general public of the impending doom regarding sub-prime mortgages which triggered a global financial crisis.
While some may take the credit rating downgrade with a grain of salt, the reality is that America must get its financial house in order on both the national and state levels. Our national debt is not $14 trillion, as touted in the media, but closer to the $50 trillion level if we include what are called off balance sheet liabilities such as Social Security, Medicare etc.
Extreme measures for government efficiencies are needed to set America back on the path to prosperity and this needs to be done before considering cuts to the beneficiaries of these programs or raising the age to receive Social Security benefits and Medicare.
There is too much duplication of programs, wasteful spending and outright fraud rampant both inside and outside the system. The public knows it and people within the system know it, but no one wants to step up to the plate to bring these flawed practices to an end.
Why not set up a competition between all fifty states to design the most incredibly efficient government body and then use the winning model as the template for all other states to follow? While there are variations in state needs across America, a specific road map can be used as the foundation. Stipulate a deadline of one year (or less) to come up with a plan. Reviewing state audits can be a good starting point in deciding what to tackle first. While we must achieve a balanced budget by fiscal yearend, we must do a much better job of revamping how the whole system of government works so that government runs as efficiently as a Swiss watch.
The whole mentality of other people’s money must be eradicated within the government sector. Taxpayer money is earned by hard working people and it should be treated with the highest level of care and integrity. While the debate about the uses of taxpayer dollars will rage on, extraordinary measures regarding the oversight of this huge money pool must be put in place immediately by every facet of government. New York is off to a good start, so let’s keep the momentum going.
Still Too Damn High
To The Editor:
The former Rent is Too Damn High governatorial candidate is fighting eviction because his rent is too damn low. Well dosen’t that beat all. Jimmy McMillan is fighting eviction because his landlord wants to take over his apartment and get more money for the rent. The apartment is on St. James Place in the East Village. According to McMillan, this is being done because the landlord says this is not Jimmy’s primary residence and really lives in Brooklyn. But McMillan says this is a ploy to jack up the rent to the next tenant. Meanwhile, McMillan pays a rent of $872.96 a month and has lived in his apartment since 1977. In my opinion, what is happening to Jimmy may be happening to many tenants in rent- controlled apartments whose landlord’s feel they need to get higher rents for their apartments. In the end, McMillan’s apartment will truly be, too damn high. The poor and the middle class are being forced out of this once great city of ours. I hope Jimmy McMillan succeeds in getting his message out as he runs for president but I think he is better off running for mayor and sticks it to the rich and powerful in this city where greed is taking over. I do feel he will truly right the unrightable wrong. In closing let me say, power to the people who built this city.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village, N.Y.
To The Editor:
With our nation in the throes of its worst economic recession since the Great Depression of 1929, an area that the government cannot and must not cut back in is in the field of education. Our students are entitled to have teachers who are competent, professional and dedicated in their schools, and there should not be any type of monetary reduction for education in our country. There already have been thousands of teacher layoffs across the country; in New York City, a last minute agreement averted the layoffs of nearly 4,100 teachers. Even with that agreement, there are going to be 2,600 fewer educators in the classroom due to retirements. These teachers cannot be replaced under the agreement, so the New York City public schools are going to be more overcrowded than ever, and that certainly is not conducive for classroom instruction. Teachers and administrators will have to make due with what they have; they will do their very best to see to it that each student does receive the highest quality mode of instruction. The teaching profession has thousands of dedicated teachers who will strive to do their best to help each student work to their fullest potential, job cuts or not. We must give the highest level of support to educators and administrators all over this country because they are responsible for helping to shape our students and to help prepare them for the uncertainties of the world.
Fresh Meadows, N.Y.
To The Editor:
The refusal of Verizon Communications to negotiate in good faith with 45,000 unionized striking electrical technicians and other workers, a minority of their predominantly nonunionized proletariat, and their intent to roll back 50 years of bargaining gains for their wireline workers, is symptomatic of American corporate anti-unionism since the precedence of President Reagan’s actions against the air-traffic controllers in the ‘80’s. Further, this political and social trend of anti-unionism will have dire consequences for the political power of the American bourgeoisie in both Republican and Democratic Congressional bedbugs.
Marx and Engels theorized on the inevitable triumph of the working class (“proletariat”) over the capitalists (“bourgeoisie”): “Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable” (The Communist Manifesto, 1848) and even Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical letter, Spe Salvi (In Hope We are Saved), recognizes Marx by citing, “Incisive language and intellect,” “great precision” and “great analytical skill” in the sociology, economics and politics of Communist theory (Das Kapital). Indeed, according to Pope Benedict XVI, Marx’ research “still remains an endless source of fascination” (Spe Salvi). Although Lenin elaborated upon the role of professional revolutionaries of a Communist Party, advocating force to accelerate the processes of socio-economic and political revolution (State and Revolution, What Is To Be Done?), Antonio Gramsci, founder of the Italian Communist Party expanded upon the theoretical foundations of Marxism with his concept of the function of hegemony, the dominant ideology of culture.
According to the Gramscian interpretation, the bourgeois-proletariat class conflict did not result in an inevitable (according to Marx and Engels) socialist revolution in the United States precisely because of the function of hegemony to adapt and incorporate counter-hegemonic and alternative (proletarian) ideologies, for example, trade unionism and public insurance programs
(Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid). Due to the adaptive hegemonic function, in advanced nations, many measures of the Communist Manifesto of 1848 have been implemented such as, No. 2 (“a heavy progressive or graduated income tax”), No. 8 (“equal obligation of all to work”), No. 9 (“combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equitable distribution of the populace over the country”), No. 10 (“free education for all children in public schools; abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form; combination of education with industrial production”). Therefore, from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s time forward, the American hegemony of capitalism has incorporated many social reform measures of the Communist Manifesto, short of the two stages in the development of communism: firstly, socialism as a system of common ownership of property without social classes, but with wages commensurate to work performed (“From each according to his ability; to each according to his work”) and, secondly, communism per se as a system in which the “state withered away” (“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”). For more information read, State and Revolution, by Lenin).
However, American anti-unionism and corporatism, a system of government in which corporations work together to control government policies and distribute profits among themselves are exacerbating the bourgeois-proletariat class conflict, privatizing profits and pauperizing the majority of the lower middle and working classes. Corporatism is government of the corporation, by the corporation [Henry Paulson (Goldman Sachs), Lawrence Summers (D. E. Shaw), Robert Rubin (Goldman Sachs), George W. Bush (HKN), Dick Cheney (Halliburton), Michael Bloomberg (Bloomberg News), and for the corporation. Therefore, Verizon, Veritas (True)-Horizon, is a corporation within American Fascism since, “Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power” (Benito Mussolini). If corporatism extirpates the Gramscian adaptive function of hegemony in a social democracy, then what is inevitable is the Leninist revolutionary function of the working classes to resolve the dialectical struggle with American corporatism. The True Horizon is communism, a society organized on the bases of common ownership of the means of production of commodities, the limitation or total abolition of private property, and relative equality in the distribution of consumer goods (“communism of consumption,” according to Plato’s The Republic).
Joseph N. Manago